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Sprint/Hurdles Group

The Sprint/Hurdles Group is primarily for athletes from U17 and upwards who are specialising in sprints from 60m to 400m or Hurdlers who compete over 60m, 110m and 400m.

The group is coached by Sheila Atkinson and Hugh Baillie

This Group meets at Scotstoun Stadium every Tuesday and Thursday evening from 7pm till 8.30pm.

Sheila takes an additional session on Wednesday evenings, again from 7pm.

This group has been exceptionally successful in recent years with several medal winners at the AAA's and almost all of the group having acquired a Scottish vests.  David Martin is the first in recent years to have been selected to represent Great Britain.

If you have any questions about joining this group, contact Gordon by e-mail or on 0141 563 7013.

For more information, contact Gordon by e-mail or on 0141 563 7013.



Sprint Coaching

From a coaching point of view it is interesting to note that young athletes should be building a speed base from a very young age, American coach Loren Seagrave at a speed clinic in Grangemouth has also stated this a few years ago. For athletes who want to work at sprints (60m to 400m) this study and others indicate that athletes should work of a speed base then add endurance. Most American and the old eastern block countries training regimes are speed based going from short to long as opposed to the traditional UK sprint coaching of long to short. In other word build the speed base then add the speed endurance and specific endurance; sprinters should never be more than 2 weeks away from speed sessions even in the conditioning period of their training.

See “A Review of Training Theories on Periodization for Sprinters by  Michael A Young“ for more information.


The following article is reproduced from the SAL forums with permission from the author Walter Bissett one of Scotland’s best sprints/hurdles coaches. The article is titled The Class of 2006 and asks the question if coaches in Scotland have a full understanding of the training systems required to improve the athletes that they coach to senior level. Several very interesting replies are on the forum. Do the coaches from Victoria Park agree or disagree with Walters’s comments? To see how the discussion is developing go to blockbusters section on the SAL forum at

The Class of 2006 - Walter Bissett

Over the past few years we have in Scotland supported a number of young athletes in the Sprints and Hurdles hailed as the future, it is disappointing looking at this years performances that these athletes seem to have stagnated with at best only very small gains in performance for some. It is obvious when seeing them that they are not training appropriately, we seem to be able to produce at Junior level but are unable to take them any further. More and more I have concluded that they are in a training regime suitable for junior athletics but do not train as Seniors with a number of training years behind them. We still seem to have the thinking that running slow in training will help you run faster in competition and that heavy weights will do you harm. We have seen 400m athletes will do the cross country to help their athletes speed endurance. Both of these will result in a loss of speed and performance in Sprints.

I am sure when Michael Johnson talks later this year in Glasgow the main message will be to achieve quality competition performances you require to train using quality high intensity training sessions which are specific to the event (so there if you can’t get a there I have saved you £60.00). He will also tell you that his training sessions were short because of the training intensity.

I was at the 1998 CWG and was the warm up coach when Allison Curbishley broke the Scottish 400m record and I am able to tell you that since I have not seen a Scottish sprint athlete near that level of preparation. Allison was meticulous about every detail of her athletics and that is why she did break the record, I have seen more naturally gifted athletes, however she more than made up for it in the physical work she had did and her physiological strength. The only Scottish athlete that seems at least to be going on the right road at the moment being Gemma Nicol.

Scottish Coaches are going to have to change their approach otherwise their athletes are going to asking them selves what do I do to become a Senior International Athlete who can break records, instead of reaching my peak performance at a young age and being a forgotten ‘’might have been’’. Unless changes are made to the training of these athletes they will probably only get close to their PB’s at best next season.

From The Herald Newspaper - By Doug Gillon

The pursuit of speed is sport's Holy Grail, but there is no code to unlock the secret. Pedestrians of the 19th century, who ran for far greater financial prizes than the fee which world 100 metres record holder Asafa Powell will collect at Gateshead next Sunday, trained on chicken and stale beer. They would go for walks, and then be warmly swathed and sweated between two feather matresses.

The appliance of more than 100 years of science, nutrition, and physiology has made the world's fastest man some 20 metres quicker. The fastest time at the inaugural 1896 Olympics was 11.8 seconds (in the heats, not the final) and Powell and Justin Gatlin now hold the world best jointly, at 9.77.

If there were a simple coaching equation, dozens would break 10 seconds routinely. There are basic, widely-accepted principles, but individuals differ, and fine-tuning means every athlete is an experiment of one. Among more interesting theories is the role of the myelin sheath (whose degradation is responsible for multiple sclerosis).

Dave Lease, former mentor of the GB No.1 Jason Gardener (who has yet to run as fast under his current coach) does not claim to have discovered it, but says he put together some Romanian coaching data and unrelated medical research.

"They were discussing how nerves grow, and one conclusion was that if the appropriate messages are not sent down neural pathways at the right time, the nerve does not develop properly," says Lease, Scotland's former national coach.

"Among the fastest-growing nerves are those involving the eye, following birth. If a baby's eyes are covered for the first week or so of life, sight is permanently impaired."

He believes this also applies to sprint ability. "If nerves are not stimulated at the right time, and the right impulses sent down, then sprint potential can't be maximised. During two periods in the life of young children, six to seven in girls, and then again from around 10 to 14 (but older for boys, perhaps 13 to 17) the nervous system makes rapid development.

"Repeated stimulation - and that means short bursts, running flat out often, preferably when well warmed-up, with the muscles already stretched - would be essential preparation for a future sprinter. You can do all the other forms of training later in life, but if the optimum nerve path is not laid down, it's a limiting factor."

He questions whether kids raised in a cold climate routinely exercise in the warmth required, or with the stretched muscles that such a climate provides.

As children they did not inhabit an environment for the repeated maximal short-burst sprints that occur routinely in Afro-Caribbean childs' play.

He likens the nerve to an electric cable. "Repeated bursts of speed, when kids are young, thicken and lengthen the nerve. Subsequently, at the end of puberty, the myelin sheath around the nerve becomes sealed, like the plastic coating on a power cable. After that, the fibres cannot be altered."

Those tempted to dismiss the theory should consider this: the 22 fastest 100m runners ever are Afro-Caribbean. Equal 23rd is Patrick Johnson, an Australian Aborigine who might be presumed to have enjoyed a similar environmental background. A total of 52 men have broken 10.00 seconds. All except Johnson are Afro-Carribean. Not one Caucasian.


Have a look at Rickys advice on Warm Up, Cool Down and Stretching.

All other articles on coaching can be found by following this link.




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